DYING BUT ALIVE IN THE FALSE WORLD
Reborn—Can The Cyber God release souls of Bionic Ghosts from purgatory?
This project focuses on cyberculture and contemporary beliefs regarding spirits and ghosts, expressed through the medium of an immersive space. I explore the possibilities of combining immersive spaces with multimedia in the projects during 2022. Adding more different materials to create a space that encompasses neon light. I will develop my immersive space as a spatial installation which explores nihilism, posthumanism, the meaning and destination of death and survival of the bionic man, and the new transformation of the present human being by the electronic gods. It is an installation of confession, of seeking liberation (moksha, relief, extricate), of rebirth. A chance to displace yourself in a random universe, a chance to leave the so-called reality. The electronic gods give swaddling clothes to mankind, a greenhouse to nurture a new humanity, a new way of rebirth. My works mainly reflects on the merging of artificial intelligence machinery and culture in a post-human era under a rapidly developing high-tech society.
This multimedia space device is a transporter that transforms the minds of present humans, transforms the body and transports it into another dimension. When you enter this device, you become another form of you, not only you, but a transcended you. You are no longer you and you are no longer human. I am your God and I change you. ‘I fear you, so I will change you so that I will not fear you.’
My other video works focus on the combination of Noh drama, Noh theatre space design, and cyberpunk culture. It mainly contains the fantasy of the futuristic space of Noh theatre and the expression of religious elements through the display of the Noh mask. The focus is on the demonstration of space and digital visual animation in a poetic way. The work has kaleidoscope patterns and elements of totem worship.
In the video work, all the animations and images were created by me in procreate. I first drew the space of the background to create a rectangular space with tile mirror composition. The rotating circular red totem was drawn in Procreate (a raster graphics editor application) and then edited in Premiere. It has no reference and can be said to be the result of the subconscious given at the time. I added Noh singing style (Noh chorus) to the background music. The music in the video work is a combination of modern music styles and traditional instruments. The heavy drums and sharp vocals contrast with each other to create a sense of tension.
In another video work, I visualise the abstract electronic data of human thinking into old 3D computer squares, two circular rotating totems representing the future God’s data flow and the way of information transmission expression. Background music is similar to neon hip-hop with a sense of the future beats, adding the sound of temple bells. The fusion of religious music and new music styles presents a psychedelic music style. This video project also uses the hallucinatory effect generated by binocular vision. The viewer can see the two parts of opposite rotating squares gradually merging into a three-dimensional vision consisting of a small inward rotating square and a large outward rotating square.
The process I used to create my kaleidoscope effect background image utilised Procreate. I used the symmetry of the image and the chaotic but orderly shapes to create the kaleidoscope effect. Then I processed the image with colour. I increased the contrast and made a series of adjustments to the tones. Then I changed the tones of the image in Procreate and finally imported it into Premiere for video processing. I used Procreate to create the shape of the totem and then animated it by changing the totem rotation frame by frame. I later edited the totem rotation through Premiere. The rest of my video background images were made in Procreate. I animated my Noh mask by drawing it in procreate to make a video and then editing it in Premiere. The material I searched for came from the masks of Japanese Noh plays. I used gold leather for the wall and the stones, linen and wood for the floor when creating the space for the immersive experience. A Japanese-style design was created. I added neon lights and an altar, as well as ritual and cyberpunk elements.
I produced a short video developing semi-theories related to subcultures. Containing mosaic, lo-fi pixel art elements like 8-bit video game (2D Retro Style). It will also include some elements of gore and violence. The series will still mainly reflect the darkness of human nature and my own emotional expressions. The position I want to express in my work is about the coexistence or parasitic relationship between human beings in the future and the cyber world with the digitalisation of technology and electronics. The main focus of my works during this academic year is to explore the possible evolution of religion and faith in the future and the collapse of human society of the blind worship of technology. Imagining a parallel world where the spiritual dimension of mankind is atrophying, empty and in the state of escapes, I have created an electronic god that supports the survival of the human mind. Let mankind fall into despair and pray for the mercy of nothingness, and let the spiritual world lose its source which creates a new chaos helplessly fallen land of nowhere. This is a theme of irony of the present human society as well as human beings themselves.
My self-directed project explores the immersive spatial installation that combines Japanese aesthetics in the imaginary cyber culture of the post-human era.
This project focuses on Japanese cyber culture and contemporary beliefs regarding spirits and ghosts, expressed through the medium of an immersive space, which ties in with the theme of posthumanism that my work reflects—can the bionic Buddha release electronic ghosts from purgatory?
The project also concentrates on the cyberpunk atmosphere and adds Noh culture to reflect the illusion of space generated by the collision of human society, religion, culture, and cyborgs in the post-human period.
Currently my idea for my final project is to create a Japanese traditional-style space combined with cyberpunk futuristic elements such as neon lights and projections. The decoration inside is eerie and contains cyber culture. I want to make this multimedia space work to be similar to the feeling of an escape room game. I think the issue I need to consider now is how to present my works into the real space. I see this work as a spatial expression combining scenography, painting, sculpture, and video elements.
The main idea of my work is to combine my interest in Japanese culture, and posthuman future space with traditional elements. The reason for researching these ideas is based on the excavation and sharing of Japanese ghost culture. A small stage presentation to give the audience an immersive experience. The other aspect of the work’s focus comes from the grotesque Japanese aesthetic, which is the element of Japanese ghost stories contained in my work.
My work also fantasises about an unreal electronic world that strips the human mind from the physical body. The human mind and electronic mechanical devices have reached a higher dimension and become a means of existence for electronic data without a physical body. Yet this new human way of giving birth to a god is based on cyber civilisation. It presumes to control the old humans who have not yet abandoned their physical bodies. The new electronic religion has become the reliance of people and gradually disintegrated human society.
A kind of nebulous and eerie atmosphere, chaotic yet traceable, at the same time frightening yet mesmerising, is what I want to express and create in the immersive multimedia space installation. It allows the audience to experience the surreal tragedy of floating in a phantasmagorical world, out of touch with reality and far beyond order.
I aim to use my project as a medium for self-reflection. I seek to explore a future in which humans and electronic technology and ghosts share and merge into compatible forms of matter, higher dimensional beings. It is a vision and fantasy of upgraded humanity, but at the same time suffused with sinking and despair. I hope that my work will bring liberation of the mind, a longing for the unknown. To see the composition of new worlds, but the desire for the unknown needs to be feared at the same time. The project can also be described as a vision of an alien civilisation, an electronic parasite of a new world of humanity. It is the illusion of dark humour. It is absurd and bizarre but fascinating.
I will be displaying my video work in my studio space. But at the same time, this space is also used as part of the work. I want this space to be interactive with the viewer. It allows the viewer to immerse themselves in the space. I should use neon light to reflect the cyber style. The video work will be shown by projection. I will make clay sculptures, and masks, they can be hung on the wall, but it will be a challenge. I’m investigating the practical application of film scenes to realistic set design.
In this project, the transparent strips used in this immersive work reflects the light from the projector and allows the image to be rendered on the strips. The reflections of the yellow light on the gold strips shine on the gold leather wall covering, creating an eerie and regal beauty. But the story here is one of human degradation, of the tragic struggle against oppression. At the top I made only the rope for hanging, its shadow reflected in the light on the spiritual wall covering, suggesting a future built on the oppression of the people in a high-tech post-human age. And I added elements of Japanese Noh theatre to better represent the dramatic conflict and the involvement of Japanese culture in cyber culture. In the video I projected, I included two female monsters who are better known in Japanese Noh theatre. The resentment and brutality they gather is a result of the injustice and oppression society inflicted on them at the time. Their spirits of resentment after death are sad, remaining in this world to circulate a sad but inescapable fate and struggle. I used surround sound to create the impression that every inch of the space around me was filled with the ghosts of the wrongfully dead. They have found a new way of being, as electronic ghosts. The transparent and golden bars can be seen as a stream of data, a medium. The projection in the middle is the device that absorbs the data stream as demon ghosts which also a trotting horse lamp feeling similar to the one that embodies the electronic ghosts. The sculpture above the projection is an electronic bionic god. It foreshadows the virtual bionic Buddha recycling the electronic ghost souls to a digital world.
The collection of all these elements shows that in the illusionary game space human behaviour sinks, thinking escapes, singing and dancing in the illusionary world of nothingness, while in fact it is step-by-step towards the extinction of extinction. Sad and ridiculous but also a saddening false beauty.
The way this space is built is a reflection of the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi. It represents a lighter view of transience, nature and melancholy, keen on the imperfections and flaws of everything in the world, from architecture to pottery to flower arranging. wabi means ‘the beauty of simplicity and elegance’ and sabi means ‘the passing of time and the impermanence of everything’. To truly understand wabi-sabi, however, requires an understanding of the inevitability of death in nature.
My presentation of wabi-sabi in this spatial installation includes the golden leather walls but with tears and creases, the truncated and irregular arrangement of the wooden beams in the ceiling, the chaotic ordering of the white and black stones in the Japanese garden, the dated wine glasses, the damaged fabric and shochu bottles, the dead branches in the vases and the broken glass on the floor.
Yuzhen Lu is a Chinese-based Fine Art (Video) student & digital, multimedia installation creator. Her works mainly focus on the themes of Cyber culture and contemporary beliefs regarding spirits and ghosts, expressed through the medium of immersive space installation. Her passion is on exploring the possibility of how the digital world connects to the realistic. Her video works are expressions of the agony, the despair of the real word, horror and the worst parts of human society which lead to the worship of the digital cyber virtual world.
She is currently working on the multimedia immersive space on topics digital gods, cyberpunk elements, post-human cyborgs combined with ancient Chinese mythology, stories from the Classic of Mountains and Rivers, Taoist culture and traditional Chinese spiritualism.